Gorgeous blue skies and puffy white clouds frame views of the Pitons in Saint Lucia

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St Lucia, a Romantic Elysium

Ahh, St Lucia (pronounced Loo-Shah). The only country in the world that is named after a woman, is also hailed and acclaimed as the most desirable honeymoon destination on the globe. It’s easy to see why. It checks off all the quintessential boxes for a paradisiacal getaway. White sand beaches, warm tropical waters, stunning naturescapes & rainforest, vibrant reefs and spectacular diving & snorkeling. St Lucia simply has something special about it. In other words, romance is oozing from its atmosphere. It’s in the air.

View of the Caribbean Sea from our Villa at TiKaye Resort
View of the Caribbean Sea from our Villa at TiKaye Resort

Where is it?

The heart of the Caribbean, St Lucia is nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea just north of Trinidad & Tobago. It would be remiss of me not to mention that St. Lucia is extremely hilly, much of it on mountainous terrain. It makes for breathtaking photo ops and views, but know that you will likely and frequently be walking on steep inclines. It has been told to me that Coconut Bay (Vieux Fort), Rendezvous (in the Castries), Sandals Grande & Halcyon are completely flat properties.

Covid Specifics

At the time of writing, a negative Covid PCR test (please, make sure it is a PCR test to avoid any potential issues with your airline) is required to enter the country and should be taken no more than 5 days before travel. Note: you need to present a Covid test even if you have received the vaccine. Due to the country starting to open back up after shutdown, there were a few attractions and tours that were not currently running. Despite this, we had an exceptional time and there was still a plethora of activities to do.

Toraille Waterfall in St Lucia
Splashing around Toraille Waterfall

What is there to do in St Lucia?

So, when one is not basking in the sun, lounging on the beach with toes in the sand, what is there to do in St Lucia?

Take a tour of the Island by land, sea or both!

Experience some of St. Lucia’s incredible dive & snorkeling sites

Take Dive lessons or earn official PADI dive certifications

Deep dive to a shipwreck, one of St Lucia's many impressive dive sites
A deep dive to a Shipwreck – one of St Lucia’s many impressive dive sites

Enjoy a catamaran ride or sunset cruise by boat

Go kayaking in the Caribbean Sea!

Go off the beaten path & explore the island on an ATV

Hike the iconic Pitons – Gros Piton (2,530 ft) or Petit Piton (2, 438 ft)

Visit the worlds only Drive-in Volcano

Get messy at the Sulfur Springs volcanic mud bath

Have a guided tour in the beautiful Diamond Falls botanical garden

Diamond Falls Botanical Garden in St Lucia, where part of Romancing the Stone was filmed
The breathtaking Diamond Botanical Garden in St Lucia, where part of Romancing the Stone was filmed

Get wet at Toraille Waterfall – a 50 ft fall

Explore the Rainforest (closed at the time of visit due to Covid)

Tour the local Rum distillery & taste over 23 different selections of Rum

Visit Hotel Chocolat & learn all about growing cocoa trees, making chocolate & actually make some chocolate bars to take home with you!

Guide Requirements in St Lucia

At this time, a local guide is required at all attractions and for all dive and snorkel sites. Gratuities are accepted and encouraged in St Lucia. Don’t forget to tip your guides! 

The front display at Hotel Chocolat for their Tree to Bar Chocolate making experience
Visit Hotel Chocolat, graft your own Cocoa tree and make your own Chocolate – from tree to bar!

St. Lucia is a beautiful symphony of tranquility, natural beauty, culture, tropical delight, relaxation and adventure. You can choose the ratios of what you’d like to experience, pertaining to your specific interests.

When you tour the island (however you decide to do so based on your time, preferences & budget) you will likely visit the following major attractions on your tour: The world’s only Drive-in Volcano, Toraille Waterfall, the Diamond Falls Botanical Garden & The Pitons. All attractions are located in the south of the island in Soufriére. The Rainforest is currently closed to Tourists at this time.

There are options to book a private guide for just you and your group (cost includes the guide and transportation). I highly recommend Vienney from TiKaye. He is extremely knowledgeable, accommodating to your specific needs or interests, laid back and great company!

There’s nothing worse than spending a lot of money for a group tour and then feeling rushed, subjected to someone’s bad mood or unsavory energy or you didn’t get to spend time on things that you were truly fascinated about. Maybe you want to spend a little more time in one area and breeze through another? That’s why a private guided tour is worth every penny. With our tour, the only additional fees were paying for the nominal entrance fees to attractions ($7 USD per adult for the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens, less than $20 USD per adult for entrance to the Drive-in Volcano including a guide and time in the sulfur pools).

Brady and I soaking in the very warm Hot Springs in St Lucia at the Drive In Volcano

All about the Sulpher Springs

Soaking in hot springs have been associated with a variety of healing benefits. Not only do they naturally detox the skin but have been thought to help with an assortment of irritations, rashes, skin ails, infections, pains and even internal issues. Be warned, this will be a busy attraction and you will smell afterwards! The good news is: guides of large groups are mindful of keeping their group moving. There will actually be moments like the one above where you have an entire mineral pool to yourself. This is likely because the temp outside is in the high 80’s already, and then you’re sitting in a nice big crater of piping hot mineral water at well over 100 degrees.

Make sure you bring a swimsuit and towels. I will state the obvious, just in case: do not wear a light colored swimsuit! Although my bright yellow suit was caked by the time I went to shower, I didn’t wind up with a single stain. Another advisory was not to wear jewelry in the hot spring. I left my rings on, and didn’t have any issues, but I tried not to get the thick sulfur on them.

Hiking the Pitons

Brady and I standing in front of a beautiful view of the Pitons in St Lucia

If you have the time, desire or will – you can hike either or both of the Pitons. The trails are well maintained and of course; the views, are spectacular. We did not do that this trip, but we did however see the Pitons up close by boat & numerous lookout points in Soufriére. It really is a majestic and awe inspiring sight!

Lodging & Accommodation – Where to Stay?

If a stay close to the Pitons and other attractions is important and you are feeling indulgent, a popular option is to stay at the all-inclusive resort The Viceroy at Sugar Beach. This prominent 78 room resort runs about $600 – $1200+ a night, equips you with a butler and easy access to swimming at the base of the Pitons.

Feeling fancier? There is always the renowned Jade Mountain, which every local and vacationer alike seems to have heard of. Why? It is hovering over the Carribean Sea with a gorgeous view of The Pitons. Similarly, every room comes standard with a butler, no doors or windows in the room except for your front door & an infinity pool overlooking the ocean. Sound dreamy, right? However, this level of luxury will set you back $1400-$5000 a night.

Other vacationers we met were staying at The Royalton and very much enjoyed it. This might be a good selection if you are seeking a true “resort” feel. If you’re in need of flat terrain, Coconut Bay, Rendezvous or Sandals Grande & Halcyon will be good options.

Enjoying an absolutely gorgeous view of the Caribbean Sea from our private plunge pool at Tikaye Resort & Spa

Tikaye Resort & Spa

We stayed at Tikaye (which means “little house” in Creole) Resort & Spa located just north of Canaries in Anse La Raye. The resort is nestled into the visually delightful natural landscape, overlooking the secluded Anse Cochon Beach. If you are seeking a quieter, more serene ambiance; this will fit the bill. For instance, this is an adults only resort and all the accommodations are individual villas. The service, ambiance, food and amenities were excellent. Above all, you will have a truly relaxing time. You can read more about our stay, here.

All About the Food

Each resort has an array of different types of food to pick from to cater to both the discerning and non-experimental palette. Traditional Saint Lucian fare is a fusion of Creole, Caribbean & French cuisine. Authentic Saint Lucian food is delicious! The resort we stayed in served some delectable food, but if you have the opportunity, try and venture out to dine at a local restaurant in St. Lucia. One suggestion is a local favorite called The Beacon. Not only does it have a breathtaking view (see the very first photo of this article), and yummy food, but it’s also a great value.

The front sign of Beacon Restaurant in St Lucia. Locally owned and operated, authentic St Lucian fare.
Locals favorite, ‘The Beacon’ restaurant. Great food and value – and absolutely breathtaking views!

For less than $20 USD per person, fixings are served buffet style and include a drink and desert. I highly recommend tasting Saint Lucian ice cream while in town. Something about it is so fresh and different. If you find yourself somewhere that has Saint Lucian coconut ice cream, do not hesitate!

Some dishes served were chicken curry, fried fish, coconut rice, plantains, sweet potato casserole, coleslaw, pigeon peas & green figs. Green figs & “salt fish” (or salted cod) is the national dish.

Picture of a plate of food from The Beacon Restaurant. Authentic food of St Lucia. Delicious and home made at the Beacon. Great food, Great prices.
A plate of authentic St Lucian Fare at The Beacon

An Island of Romance and Relaxation

St. Lucia is truly a magical experience. The only caveat being that the island is literally crawling with couples. If you’re a solo traveler or large group looking to rave like the world is ending: is this the right setting for you? You, of course, should be the judge; but in my opinion, there are destinations better suited. However, don’t let that stop you from visiting this beautiful island if you feel compelled.

We really wanted to visit the capitol, Castries, to get more of a ‘local’ experience. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, travelers are not currently permitted to enter. Just another reason to return along with visiting the rainforest and the rum distillery. Also, did you know that St. Lucians love country music? They love it. It’s on all the radio stations and also at their local dancing events (pre-Covid.)

Picture of a stunning sunset overlooking the Caribbean Sea in St Lucia. Photo taken at Tikaye Resort & Spa.

Romancing The ….

The Diamond Falls waterfall located in the Diamond Botanical Garden is where a scene from Romancing the Stone was filmed. The botanical garden by the way, is absolutely gorgeous and a must visit if you love plants, flowers and or are even an avid gardener. Even if you have not historically been a botanical enthusiast, the Diamond Falls Botanical Garden is sure to be a relaxing experience for you and your travel partner. All Guests must be accompanied by a guide, which will be assigned to you upon arrival.

And in the spirit of Romancing the Stone… if you weren’t already, after visiting St. Lucia: “you are now a world-class hopeful romantic.”

Know Before You Go

Those traveling by air will need to complete this form online, prior to arrival.

Pin this for your Saint Lucia planning!

Travel Tips & Resources to Help You Plan an Epic Trip!

Going – I’ve subscribed to Going (formerly, beloved, Scott’s Cheap Flights) for awhile now and it’s an amazing resource for finding… did you guess cheap flights? Yes, you can set your preferences from airports to flight class and get destination deals right to your inbox. It’s fab! I use the Premium paid version, but they have a FREE version too. So what are you waiting for?! Let’s get Going!

Booking.com – the majority, if not almost all of my stays are booked on Booking.com. It’s a reliable site to book and manage your reservations. It’s a great way to find boutique stays and unique accommodations at the best rates! You can also easily communicate with your accommodation through the app.

Expedia – If I am looking for a flight to a specific destination for specific dates, I find myself booking many flights on Expedia. It’s user friendly and straight forward. I often find the most cost effective rates, while earning points for every flight I book (in tandem with the points I receive from the credit cards I pay with).

Viator – most of the activities, tours and excursions I book for my trips are booked through Viator. Whether you’re seeking a guide for the day, a group tour, a cooking class, Viator has you covered!

Get Your Guide – this is another great marketplace to find tours, excursions and activities to book for your upcoming trip.

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